MARCO ISLAND — Going into the latest Marco City Council meeting, supporters and creators of the Big Flag Campaign were hopeful that the councilors would approve the no-brainer project, to put a huge U.S. flag in the median where the new Jolley Bridge span meets Marco Island.
After 20 minutes or so at the meeting, Big Flag Chairman Dave Rice and key organizer Keith Dameron emerged victorious, their unorthodox presentation having wowed the council.
Dameron sat silent before the councilors in a shiny American flag T-shirt, “the last one they had at Walmart,” he divulged. Dave Rice gave a reasoned presentation with a light touch. At one point he joshed to council that if the flag proposal was not approved, Dameron would take his T-shirt and “Occupy Marco” until the council relented.
The fake threat of civil disobedience was laughed off by all concerned and the council did manage to ask a few questions.
Chuck Kiester didn’t mention his earlier opposition to the flag project, concerned that the city might eventually have to pay for the flag’s upkeep. After he was privately reminded that the flag committee had repeatedly and publicly promised the project would cost taxpayer nary a penny, Kiester was reduced to asking whether the flag would be lighted at night.
“Yes, with solar power,” was Dave Rice’s polite answer.
Some other councilor raised the issue of the existing big flag at the Yacht Club. Responded Dave Rice deftly, “That’s a private flag.” End of story.
City Public Works Director Tim Pinter stepped up to assure the council that proper due diligence has been done on various aspects of the flag, including location, safety and some technical issues. His professionalism was another of the standout features of the council meeting.
The council members voted seven to zero to approve the flag endeavor.
This happy ending followed a seemingly never-ending council-citizen discussion over whether the taxpayers should pay for a fireworks display near the beach on July 4th.
Sanity intervened in the form of restaurateur Joey Oliveria, who offered to lead a campaign to raise funds for the fireworks if the city would match Joey’s private money-raising campaign.
His idea towered over the parade of people who were eager to spend other people’s money on the holiday fireworks. And council voted to approve Joey’s plan.
These dogs are allowed at the beach
One of the hits of the Christmas Tree Lighting event last Saturday was the Beach Dogs concession, where Iraq war veteran Chris Quinton was busy preparing tasty hot dogs for hungry partiers.
“We were overwhelmed at the response,” says Chris. “Glenn (Walton) was on a constant mission to Winn-Dixie to get more dogs, buns and condiments.”
One reason for the popularity of Beachdogs is the fact that they are all-beef, skinless Nathan’s products, as in the famous Nathan’s of Coney Island and at street vendors around New York City.
“We taste-tested several major brands of hot dogs and Nathan’s skinless are the best.”
So why the name Beachdogs?
“Everybody loves our beach and our dogs so we just put the two together.”
Beachdogs is a fixture now at Marco’s Farmers’ Markets on Wednesdays, at Coconut Point market on Thursdays and other public events, including the December 16th Christmas Island Style Movie Night at Veterans Park.
They’re also available for private parties. If you’re hankering for a hot dog feast for a fun gathering check out the web site beachdogs.us or call Chris Quinton at 248-4310.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: email@example.com.